The 49th annual Mandarin Art Festival will be held this weekend and features 100 local and national artists who will be selling and displaying their work.
The Mandarin Community Club hosts the long running event, which has boasted nearly 10,000 attendees over the course of the two days.
“It’s been our signature event for the past 49 years and it’s become a tradition for many families to come here Easter weekend to check out the art, food and activities,” said president Susie Scott. “It makes for a wonderful Easter weekend because it’s very family oriented.”
Scott said the festival was launched by a former club president who realized that membership dues wouldn’t be enough to sustain the club.
“It’s become our primary fundraiser and generates extra capital for us,” she said. “Many of the artists have been participating for decades.”
One of those artists is Jacksonville resident Tim Bullard, who has had the same space at the Mandarin Art Festival for nearly 40 years.
“It’s a beautiful location and it’s a really nicely done show,” he said. “It’s the last of our great local art shows and it’s one I want to continue to support.”
Bullard said he’ll have a kiln at his booth this year to host [pottery] demonstrations.
“It’s important to educate people on how it’s done,” he said. “It gives people an understanding of what goes into it.”
In the future, Bullard said he hopes the festival not only continues but stays true to promoting local and national artists.
“A lot of shows have art that has been imported and the fact that this is a juried art event means these people are actual artists who made their pieces,” he said. “Also, what happens with a lot of these festivals is that they get too big so I hope they keep it at a size where everyone can go around and see everything.”
Scott said the artists have to apply and meet certain requirements such as quality, originality and craftsmanship.
“The most exciting thing for us to have new artists apply, because we always love to have artists with new techniques and styles featured at the show,” she said.
The event also features live music, food trucks, a Green Market where local small businesses will be selling their handcrafted goods including soaps, honey, and jams and jellies, as well as a Children’s Art Show, which showcases artwork by students from across Jacksonville.
Art Festival co-chair Laura Miller said this year’s show will feature a caricature artist in addition to interactive booths such as Bullard’s [pottery] demonstration and a painter who uses spray paints to create art in real time.
“A lot of the artists travel to different shows throughout the year and we fill a big void because of the fact that ours is on Easter weekend when there aren’t a lot of shows,” Miller said. “We get a lot of great artists because of that.”
Scott said she’s looking forward to the Mandarin Art Festival and that the club is already gearing up for the 50th annual event next year.
“It’s a labor of love and everybody is so proud to be part of this event in Mandarin,” she said. “It’s going to be an exciting weekend.”
The Mandarin Art Festival will be held at Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Rd., on Saturday, April 15 from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Sunday, April 16 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
There is no parking available at the Mandarin Community Club grounds. Free off-site parking is available at Alberts Field on the corner of Orange Picker and Brady roads and at the Mandarin Masonic Lodge #343 located at 2914 Loretto Rd. A free shuttle will be running continuously from each parking site to the Mandarin Community Club during festival hours.
No pets are allowed and portable restroom facilities will be available during the event.
For more information, visit www.mandarinartfestival.org or call (904) 268-1622.
Ann Friedman: (904) 359-4619